Monday, September 27, 2010

Traditional Barrel Aged Balsamic Vinegar

This isn't a recipe but a shout out to tell the world of the BEST Balsamic Vinegar that's out there. This is the Traditional Barrel Aged Balsamic Vinegar from JD Gourmet. We started buying it a few years ago at the Bethlehem, CT Garlic Festival. It is one of those foods in life that give you great comfort. I don't use it in recipes where it's with a lot of other flavors. I'm sure it would be very good that way but we like to save it to use AS the main flavor. We use it to dip bread in, over mozzarella cheese, fresh basil and sliced tomatoes from the garden etc. It's the caviar of Balsamic Vinegars!
Tonight we will have a meal that is planned around this delicious vinegar!!! PJ will be very happy!
** Photo from the JD Gourmet website.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Marinated Portobello Stuffed Whole Chicken with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Red Onion

This recipe is from the 2nd place winner of the Next Food Network Star, 2010. It looks long but is actually quick to throw together. I followed it exactly EXCEPT I added some white potatoes as well as the sweet potatoes because PJ doesn't like sweet ones, and after throwing everything in the pan, I drizzled the rest of the oil mixture from the mushrooms over the potatoes. This was the most flavorful, moist chicken we ever had. You can even throw it together the night before and plop it in the oven in the afternoon. Alyssa ended up not eating here last night. When she got home I started to tell her about it being that we watch the show together and she said PJ already told her how good it was. Now how's that for a compliment. Oh, I also used a 7.5 lb oven stuffer roaster, not a 3 lb one mentioned. I cooked it according to the chicken package time.

Marinated Portobello Stuffed Whole Chicken with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Red Onion

Recipe courtesy Tom Pizzica

4 servings


  • 1 (3-pound) whole fryer chicken
  • 8 slices Marinated Portobello mushrooms (4 whole portobellos), recipe follows
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Dash smoked paprika
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 8 wedges (from root to tip)
  • Olive oil, for drizzling


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Start at the cavity end of the chicken and work your finger underneath the skin. Using 2 fingers, gently separate the skin from the entire breast and then work your way to the thighs and legs.
Cook's Note: There is a little piece of skin underneath the main skin that separates the thigh meat from the breast meat, just break through this part and don't be afraid of tearing the main skin because you won't.
Take the portobello mushroom slices and lay them flat underneath the skin over the breast and thighs. Do this until all the slices of mushrooms are underneath the skin. Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Place the chicken in a roasting pan.
Place the sweet potatoes and red onion in a bowl. Coat lightly with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and toss. Place the potatoes and onions around the chicken and cook for about 1 hour, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, not touching the bone, reads 165 degrees F. When the chicken is done, remove it from the oven and let it rest for at least 10 minutes.
Slice and enjoy!

Marinated Portobello Mushrooms:

  • 8 portobello mushroom caps
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
Brush the mushrooms carefully with a paper towel to get rid of the excess dirt. Using a spoon, carefully scrape out the gills from the underside of the portobello cap.
Slice the mushroom in half along the perimeter (like you are butterflying it) so you have 2 thin rounds, and then place them in a large bowl.
In a saute pan add the oil and place over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the garlic and the shallot and cook for no more than 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, honey, salt, and pepper and whisk vigorously.
Pour the mixture over the mushrooms and with your hands toss gently to coat, making sure there is even coverage.
Let the mushrooms stand at room temperature for at least 45 minutes.

Friday, September 3, 2010


Photo from Food Network

Alyssa and I saw this recipe on Aarti's Party on the Food Network. It is served with the Kale Salad (listed under SALAD to the right) and Creamy Pistachio Pops (which will be on here w/i the next week).
This recipe got RAVING reviews in the comment section of the recipe so we just had to try it. It was actually easy but I would suggest reading through the recipe first, then doing ALL of the prep work and then starting the dish. There were times that I actually turned the stove off so I could prep more ingredients. It's not hard at all though!
Let me say... this recipe was delicious. It was my introduction into Indian Cooking. The next time I make it I will double the recipe or maybe triple it! Alyssa even said that if there were any leftovers she'd like to try it mixed with a salad, kind of like a taco salad!

Sloppy Bombay Joes

Recipe courtesy Aarti Sequeira 2010

Prep Time:
35 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time:
1 hr 0 min
4 to 6 servings



  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 serrano chile, seeded and finely minced (save the other half for the turkey)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water


  • 3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Small handful shelled pistachios, about 1/4 cup
  • Small handful raisins, about 1/4 cup
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 large white onion, finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds and membrane removed, finely diced
  • 1/2 serrano chile, seeds intact (don't chop it up unless you like things spicy!)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • Small handful chopped fresh cilantro (soft stems included)
  • 4 to 6 hamburger buns


Begin by making the sauce: Warm the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, until it shimmers. Add the ginger, garlic and serrano pepper. Saute until the ginger and garlic brown a little. Add the garam masala and paprika and saute for 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until thickened, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile for the turkey, in large skillet, warm 2 tablespoons of oil. When shimmering, add the pistachios and raisins. Cook until the raisins swell up and the pistachios toast slightly. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Return the pan to medium heat, add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of oil, and warm until shimmering. Add the cumin seeds and allow them to sizzle for about 10 seconds, or until some of the sizzling subsides. Stir in the onions and bell pepper; saute until softened and starting to brown. Add the serrano pepper. Saute for another couple of minutes, seasoning with a little salt. Stir in the turkey, breaking up the big lumps. Cook until opaque, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, your sauce should be ready. Pour the sauce into the skillet with the turkey. Stir and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the mixture has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.

Once the turkey is cooked and the sauce has thickened a little, remove the serrano pepper (unless you want to eat it whole, like my Dad does!). Add the honey, half-and-half, pistachios and raisins. Stir through and taste for seasoning. Before serving, garnish with fresh cilantro.

Toast the buns, fill with the turkey mixture and serve. Eat (with your hands!) and enjoy!

Massaged Kale Salad

My picture of this salad is blurry so here's one straight from the Food Network.
I was a bit nervous about even attempting this recipe. Kale can be so bitter. I read the reviews and EVERYONE loved it! So how could I not try it? I have to admit that I did the order of ingredients wrong. Read before making this. In the end, all of the ingredients were in there in the correct amounts but Alyssa remembers there being more dressing when we saw it on Aarti's show. Honestly, I think the order of the ingredients wasn't the problem, I think it was the fact that i bought the biggest head of Kale that there was. I think i should have doubled all of the other ingredients. The parts of the salad that had the dressing coating it were delicious. Aartie said it's best the longer it sits. This salad goes with her Bombay Sloppy Joe's which you will find in the Main Dish category to the right.

Massaged Kale Salad

Recipe courtesy Aarti Sequeira, 2010

4 servings


  • 1 bunch kale (black kale is especially good), stalks removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 mango, diced small (about 1 cup)
  • Small handful toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), about 2 rounded tablespoons


In large serving bowl, add the kale, half of lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little kosher salt. Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside while you make the dressing.

In a small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice with the honey and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stream in the 1/4 cup of oil while whisking until a dressing forms, and you like how it tastes.

Pour the dressing over the kale, and add the mango and pepitas. Toss and serve.